Review by RyanVG
A Fairly Loud Lord of the Rings Clone
The Astyanax is a fairly good arcade game that tries to mimic the fantasy settings and bestiaries of the famous Lord of the Rings saga. The gameplay is fairly decent and the controls are simple. However, I don't recommend cranking the volume up to 11 in this game unless you happen to live in a huge house or an unrealistically large mansion. Getting back to the gameplay, a Conan the Barbarian wannabe hacks away at skeletons and other fantasy beasts with his amazing broadsword. The object is to defeat all the enemies and save the girl at the end of the game. I like the arcade protagonist better than the NES version's protagonist because the NES version has a gawky adolescent as the main character.
There are two buttons that control the action: one to jump and one to swing the mighty sword that looks like something out of Castle Grayskull. The tricky platforming jumps help to teach players that timing the jumps is as important as the mindless hack and slash gaming found in 90% of this game. Interesting level designs include caverns, dungeons and other settings typical of a medieval/fantasy environment.
While the scoring system is similar to most video arcade games of the early 1990s, the game doesn't keep your high score after you are forced to continue the game. The continue system allows the player to continue the game where he died, which is just like in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in TIme, and doesn't require the player to backtrack on his progress. Unfortunately, the player got to keep his score after continuing in the TMNT game; which makes it more convenient for keeping track of the player's overall high score. While the music is unbearably repetitive by today's standard, the beats along with the melodies were considered to be that of the "hard rock"/"death metal" variety.
Jaleco did a great job putting together a fairly good soundtrack for this game but it would have been better handled by superior game developers like Capcom or Konami. Konami really knew how to make impressive melodies for video games back in the 1980s and 1990s while Capcom was a close second place. Jaleco is better known for making games like Rival Turf and the Bases Loaded series; although their brief forays into platform gaming were fairly successful. If you are a button masher, then the platforming sections of the game may not be for you, but maybe this game would teach you how to be less of a button masher.
Product Release: The Astyanax (US, 03/31/90)
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